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History of Cedar
County, Iowa, 1878.

  
 

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Decoration Day, 1876.

 

May 30, 1876, "Decoration Day" was observed with marked respect and imposing and appropriate ceremonies.  The oration was delivered by Capt. E. H. Pound, from which the following passages are selected:

It is Ruskin, I believe, who recommends that for an educational influence, the youth of a country should give their early attention to the manifestations of nature -- both of the pleasing and sublime, that in so doing deep and abiding lessons may be learned, tending to the happiness and culture of the individual.  And in this respect, nothing is too minute or insignificant.  The dew on the grass, the flash of the cascade, the grand architecture of a nation -- its public buildings and temples, with their glowing domes and spires -- the perpetual glories of mountains, are among the constant, though perhaps unconscious, educators of a people who dwell in their midst.

But more than glistening dew, or shining cascade, or grand mountain, or the continuing glories of noble architecture, is the educational influence of monuments erected on chosen spots throughout the land to commemorate heroism.  This monument erected to the heroes of our county stands perpetually in our midst for patriotism and high duty, the noblest qualities of humanity.  And in the duration of its influence is entitled to an educational importance to be ranked with the church and the school; for the lesson taught in the latter is that of service to the State, with all the efficiency which teaching and culture may bring.  The church teaches the duties of self-sacrifice, fealty to the principles and high patriotism, founded on eternal right; that our duties to our country are secondary only to our duties to heaven; and our monument, with its patriotic associations, represents the blossoming of the plant which the school and the church were organized to water and prune.

Decoration Day, May 30, 1878, passed by almost unnoticed.  Only a few persons visited the monument on that day, and only a few flowers were placed around the monument.    A few women and children, and only three or four men honored the square with their presence.  Only a few eyes read the names inscribed upon the monument; only a few tongues lisped the names of the fallen heroes; and not a song, an oration or a prayer disturbed the stillness of the square from the center of which the monument points upward toward the blue dome of the ever-living and eternity-enduring God, who holds the destinies of nations within the hollow of His hand.

Of the men who visited the monument was Henry Dairy, now in his eighty-second year, and who, in his sixty-fifth year, enlisted in the army of the Union, and served faithfully until the war closed.  This brave old man, in his soldier's uniform and with soldierly bearing, and bearing the national colors, visite3d the hallowed spot to pay homage to the memory of his fallen comrades.  In the nature of things, it will not be long until he will be called to the shining shore of the eternal beyond.  When that time shall come, let his remains be wrapped in the folds of the flag he loved so well and prepared for sepulture by tender hands.  And after the Sexton's spade shall have rounded and smoothed the mound that will rise above his brave old body, let the seeds of perpetually blooming flowers be planted there while yet the memory of his heroic valor is green in the memory of men.

 

 
 

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